TDC Conference: “Yes!” to Service Charges

Open Jaw’s Martha Chapman with friend and former colleague Dianne Jackson

It was a pretty jazzed group of some 250 agents and suppliers who convened over the weekend of 16SEP at the Sheraton Toronto Airport and Conference Center for Transat Distribution Canada’s annual conference, which followed hot on the heels of a sister event in Ste-Hyacinthe, PQ.

Highlights included PD, a busy tradeshow, and an address by Joe Adamo, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer and President of TDC. And of course lots of networking for the agents who came from as far as Vancouver.

Open Jaw was there to chat with the group’s General Manager Karine Gagnon, to get a feel for where the diverse company is now – and where they are headed.

Karine Gagnon with Marc Pelletier, Senior Director Marketing, Communications and Events for TDC

“We now have 253 brick and mortar agencies and a variety of brands including Marlin Travel – with over 50 locations in English Canada - Transat Travel, Club Voyages, Travel Plus and Voyages en Liberté, in diverse relationships from corporately-owned to affiliate to franchised,” she explained.

They also have a community of some 200 ICs in their agent@home program. Agent@home is proving attractive to owners and managers who love the business and don’t want to retire but keep their hand in she explained. “We ask for at least one year’s experience, we look for sales potential and provide a team in place to support them. And sales are skyrocketing!”

But the company also has a structure in place in its TDC Campus training for owners/managers to train people coming from outside the industry. Introduced earlier this year, it features 60 hours of content and costs CAD $149. Gagnon is very pleased with the program and admits she brags about it – all the time.

And as reported in Open Jaw, TDC recently appointed well-known industry veteran Dianne Jackson to the role of Director, Franchise and Affiliate Members.

As far as current trends, Gagnon sees longer booking windows, as well as a mix of mainstream sun destinations (“The Dominican Republic is our top seller now”) along with bucket list trips such as cruises in Asia and Africa.

Not surprisingly, TS Tours were out in full force including Account Managers Dima Fahed and Justin Clarey; Nicole Bursey (Commercial Director); Diana Zincarelli (Commercial Specialist); and Cole Keitamo (Groups Manager)

And what would she like to see happen between this year’s conference and 2024’s? “That each travel professional is able to make their life easier and focus on driving the revenue. That they have more confidence in their profession and be proud to charge service fees. We are still having a conversation with owners about that. No other professions lacks confidence and belief in their value.”

Not surprisingly, the group were very happy to see the record Transat Q3 results announced 15SEP. “We represent 1 out of 5 passengers on their aircraft, so when they perform well, we perform well,” said Gagnon. “That announcement was perfect timing for this conference!”

From the trade show floor: Exodus Travels’ BDM Wendy Mills with Sue Richard of Elgin Travel & Cruise in St. Thomas, Ont.

Martha Chapman


A contributor to Open Jaw since 2006 - and known to all in the business - Martha has worked in the travel industry all of her career and covers events, destinations, personalities and issues in the travel world.

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